Archive for Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Thieves turn attention to valuable dogs

March 6, 2007


— Forget about robbing a bank, pillaging homes for jewelry or a late-night heist from the electronics store. Thieves in central Kansas are setting their sites on a yapping, lucrative alternative: Yorkshire terriers.

Yorkies, the trendy pet of celebrities such as Tara Reid, Britney Spears and Carmen Electra, can fetch between $600 and $2,500 each.

Sgt. Thad Pickard with the Hutchinson Police Department thinks that's one of the reasons he has been called to work at least two Yorkie-nappings in the past several months. He is also aware of another case where a missing Yorkie was found dead.

"I don't know what's driving it," Pickard said. "They're a nice dog to have. They're small and they're easy to care for and they're an expensive breed."

The prized pups are missing from across the country. Families from Queens, N.Y., to Reno and Lake Tahoe, Nev., are searching for missing dogs.

A security video obtained by The Associated Press last week shows armed gunmen at a Los Angles-area apartment shoveling Yorkies into a plastic garbage bag. On Saturday, four of the five missing dogs were recovered when a man turned himself for the caper.

Shad Flint came home not long ago to find his Yorkie missing.

He reported the crime to Hutchinson police and told detectives that Megan had been "chipped" - a small device that contains an electronic serial number was embedded under the dog's skin. That, along with a neighbor's detailed description of the suspect, helped Flint get Megan back.

"I don't think we would have gotten the dog back without the chip," Pickard said.

Connie Marcotte, of Hutchinson, nearly became another victim when she saw a teenage girl trying to lure her two Yorkies, Bubba and Rocky, through a gate in the yard.

Marcotte ran outside and the girl fled, but there was no question what she was after. Marcotte found a dog carrier, leash and blanket she had left behind.

"I was furious. I was beside myself," Marcotte said. "I called my husband and told him to come home. ... They're our babies; both our children are grown and gone.

"I just can't believe someone would go around taking other people's pets. If you want a dog, go to the pound."


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